From Wikipedia, "The lithosphere is the rigid outermost shell of a rocky planet"

Look - we found "E" (for Earth) and "S" (for Science) on rocks! And we already knew that Earth Science rocks! Actually, these compass directions are part of the markers in the Stopford Family Meadow Maze at Tyler Arboretum (link is external) in Media, PA.

Earth Science Rocks

Succession is causing Hickory Run State Park's Boulder Field to shrink, albeit quite slowly, as trees take root amongst the rocks.  The field, which is the size of ten football fields, is believed to have been formed during the last ice age.

Trees Encroaching on Boulder Field

You may have driven by several of these, but this image provides us a unique perspective from the air of one of the many refineries located along the Delaware River in Philadelphia.

Refinery along the Delaware River

Because of the underground coal mine fire in Centralia, PA, a 0.7 mile section of Route 61 was closed, and a new segment of Route 61 was created to detour drivers around the area of active burining.  The asphalt is currently buckled, cracked, and occasionally will have smoke billowing out, reminding visitors of the hazard burning below.

Detour of Route 61 in Centralia, PA

Citizen science projects present opportunities for students to engage in authentic science projects that have them learn about and engage with their local environment, then share their findings with a larger population.  One example of a citizen science project is the Picture Post project, which uses digital photography for environmental monitoring.  Learn more about this project at the Picture Post website and how you can set up a post at your own school.  You can also check out how students at Penn State Brandywine have brought the Picture Post project to their campus at their website:

The Picture Post citizen science project - a way to engage students

Building stones and boulders used for decorative landscaping are always a welcomed site to the eyes of a geologist, especially when it is different than the predominant rock type of the region.  In an area dominated by schist, these cross-bedded sandstones are a nice teaching tool to show students another rock type.  However, it is also important to share with students that these non-local rocks came from a sandstone quarry owned by Russell Stone Products in central Pennsylvania, and were brought down to southeastern Pennsylvania.

Russell Stone from Grampian, PA, to Media, PA

A view across the Monongahela River of exposed rock and soil on the slope of Mt. Washington.  Also visible are tracks for the incline, a mass-transit mode for the mountains.

Pittsburgh's Mt. Washington

From the Museum's website  --  The Earth & Mineral Sciences Museum at The Pennsylvania State University in State College is a unique mineral museum. The main gallery display includes displays of fine minerals such as azurite and "velvet" malachite from Bisbee, Arizona, and amazonite crystals from the Pikes' Peak, Colorado, area. The country's most extensive collection of paintings and sculpture depicting mining and related industries is on display in the Museum. 

Additional displays focus on plate tectonics and meteorological events.

The Museum is located on the first floor of the Deike Building at the Penn State University Park campus.  The Museum is open Monday through Friday, 9:30AM to 5:00PM, and admission is free.


EMS Museum and Art Gallery, Penn State University

Breakwater boulders near the beaches of Presque Isle in Erie.

Lake Erie Breakwaters

Antes Fort was once a colonial outpost in Lycoming County, near Williamsport. William Penn's agents had bought the land from Andaste Tribal Chief King Wi-daagh.  Wi-daagh realized that for the few trinkets he received in exchange for this sacred site, he had been swindled by the Englishmen. Many report that Wi-daagh's spirit still roams the Nippenose Valley as a form of eternal protest.

A granite column from the Pennsylvania State Capitol was placed here to honor King Wi-daagh along the banks of Antes Creek in 1900, commemorating the treaty.  The column was originally part of the State Capitol building in Harrisburg that burned in 1897 and was transported to this location by the property's owner.

The back side of the column is engraved with the following:





SEPT., 13. 1700




ERECTED SEPT. 13. 1900

A granite column for King Wi-Daagh